Sajid Iqbal, Marshall Islands
Amongst the world’s more isolated places are the small islands in the Pacific Ocean. The Marshall Islands are a chain of islands situated in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, the total population of which is no more than 50,000, and which continues to decline. But even in this remote region, the message of the Promised Messiah (as), the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has conquered the hearts of many of its inhabitants. Jilley Isaac is a Marshallese man in his early forties. He accepted Islam Ahmadiyyat in 2012 and has been dedicated to serving the cause of Allah Almighty ever since.
Upon my arrival in the Marshall Islands in 2017, I met Jilley for the first time. He is short in height, slim in stature and resonates sincerity. When I went to shake his hand in an attempt to greet him, he gave me his left hand and apologised, saying that his right hand was paralysed. I later learned that his paralysis was not limited to just his right arm. He narrated the incident which caused the paralysis, and then I witnessed the miracle that took place later on.
Before his acceptance of Islam, Jilley had a completely different lifestyle. Due to the area he had grown up in, Jilley had become influenced by drugs and alcohol. In fact, in his past life he was a drug dealer. Once, while out on the streets, Jilley was confronted by a couple of teenagers in search of drugs. On learning that there was a shortage of supply they took Jilley into the privacy of their home and mercilessly beat him into a coma. The injuries sustained were severe. Jilley remained unconscious for several months. The injuries resulted in him losing the ability to move the entire right side of his body and the brain damage he sustained hampered his faculty of speech and caused him to stutter. When he finally regained consciousness after several months, he attempted to walk but would fall over. Luckily, he was able to regain the use of his right leg and once again learned to walk after about a month of practice and exercise. His arm, however, was still immobile. The doctors had given up.
A few months after this incident Jilley accepted Islam Ahmadiyyat. One of the first things I learned about Jilley, and something that continues to inspire me today, is that he never used his paralysis as an excuse. There was nothing Jilley couldn’t do. I have seen Jilley do things like cutting branches from a tree to keep the mosque property tidy. Certainly, it would take him much longer than anybody else, but his display of patience and commitment is extraordinary. In my time here, I have also attempted to see if anything could be done to help Jilley regain the use of his right arm. Occasionally, doctors fly in from Taiwan, Japan and other countries; however, none have ever been able to provide even hope for Jilley.
Fast-forward to 2019, when a delegation of Marshallese Ahmadis, including Jilley, had travelled to Kiribati, another island nation in the Pacific Ocean, for their Jalsa Salana [annual gathering]. The delegation worked tirelessly with the local Kiribati Ahmadis to make preparations for this blessed event and it seems as though Allah Almighty was using this as the stage for the miracle He was about to manifest. Not long after Jilley’s arrival to Kiribati, one of the local Ahmadis, Itintarawa, quickly befriended him. Even though the Marshallese and Kiribati locals speak two entirely different languages, it never hinders either in their hospitality. Itintarawa noticed Jilley’s right arm and immediately took him to see one of his distant relatives. She is an old woman who specialises in local herbal medicine and massage. Itintarawa inquired from her if she would be able to heal Jilley to which she replied in the affirmative.
After about a week of massage therapy by an old woman living in a small wooden hut with a tin roof on one of the most isolated islands in the world, God Almighty displayed what was nothing short of a miracle. Jilley was able to move his arm again. Upon learning of this blessing, I also went to see Jilley and upon meeting him, he raised his right arm slowly. After almost 10 years of paralysis, he was once again able to make use of his right arm. I extended my hand out so as to greet him and Jilley again gave me his left arm due to the fact that it was still difficult for him to move his right hand since it had been many years and the muscles had become weak. But this time I declined saying that from now on I will shake his right hand. This is how Allah shows His powers to those who humble themselves before Him. Where doctors and specialists fail, Allah manifests Himself to those in need with incredible grandeur, in the most unlikely and improbable of ways.